Is there a better summer tradition than cooking outside on a beautiful summer day and enjoying your dinner in the open air?
This lovely summer tradition becomes even more lovely when it’s 90+ degrees outside, and turning on your oven turns your kitchen into a sauna.
My tank of a grill started dying at the end of last year, after many years of loyal service, and a couple of weekends ago, it became evident that it was time to trade up to that shiny new model.
However, for those of you who know where I live, I had two strict requirements in buying this new model:
- It must be delivered. I live on a hill and have 28 steps and probably 100 ft up from the street to my front door.
- It needed to include assembly. Ok, that one is really just because I’m lazy and would rather be drinking wine then spending 4+ hours putting a grill together.
So after shopping around, I found a grill that met both criteria. They would ship it to my house, and were running a special that included FREE assembly.
The order was placed, the grill was en route and the assembly crew were standing by to get to work.
Time for me to kick back with that wine.
Except. Of course it can’t be that easy.
It starts with the assembly crew texting and asking if there is anyway they can come a day earlier because they are already here, and don’t want to drive back down from Denver again the next day.
But I don’t actually have the grill yet. It is due to be delivered that day. And I am usually on the end of the delivery route (probably because of those 28 steps) and often don’t see the delivery guys until 8pm or later.
The assembly crew says they’ll “kill some time” until about 7:30 in the hopes that it will show up prior to that.
Ok. I’m not going to complain about having my grill assembled 12 hours early.
7:15, and the crew are texting again. Any sign of the grill? They are going to run out of daylight.
7:28 and the big brown truck rounds the corner and starts up the hill.
How’s that for timing?! I text the crew and let them know we came in just under the deadline, and they are on the road, heading my way, before the text has time to finish loading.
Now. I have lived on my hill for over a year now. And I do a lot of online shopping. So I have had lots of experience with these delivery guys getting very creative in finding any excuse to not carry even a 5 pound package up to my front door.
And this grill is slightly more than 5 pounds.
So I venture out to my deck, just in case my fill in delivery guy decides he really would rather not get his workout in for the day.
Sure enough, he’s backing his truck right up to my garage. Clearly with the idea of dumping the box there and hightailing it home to his couch and his (I’m sure) well deserved beer.
He throws open the back door and looks up to see me watching from the deck.
Let me just segue for a second here, to say that I MAY have had a conversation or two with the Boys in Brown and their supervisors about the need to actually deliver my packages to my front door.
So I am fairly well known around the Big Brown House.
I am quite sure they have a large picture of my smiling face in their break room .
Whether or not it has a dart or several hanging from it, is still up to debate.
Regardless, this particular driver was ready with his excuse as soon as he saw me.
“This is a big box! There’s no way I’m going to be able to get that up to you!”
Smile. “I thought that might be the case, so I came out to see if you needed help getting up here”
He blinks up at me. He obviously wasn’t prepared for that.
“Do you have someone up there that can help me carry it up?”
Now it’s my turn to blink at him, while I decide how best to respond to that one.
I decide to stick with the “catch more flies with honey” approach:
Smile. “Yeah. I can help you.”
The blinking lasts several more seconds this time. Obviously this option had never occurred to him.
“Um. This thing weighs 130 pounds. That’s as much as I weigh. I’m not sure we’ll be able to manage that,” as he glances back and forth from the box to me.
That honey is getting thicker by the minute and the smile is frozen on my face.
“Let me get my shoes on. I think we can handle it. I’ll be right down”
I meet him at the back of the truck where he seems slightly less than excited to see me.
And on top of that, the box literally looks like it has survived a game of Russian Roulette. Barely. The top is literally flapping open, one whole corner is missing, and the rest of it is barely holding together.
“What on earth happened to the box?”
“Yeah, I’m not sure. I didn’t load it on the truck this morning. It has been riding around in the back all day… ” He fades off in trying to find an explanation as he tries to worry the start to a roll of packing tape. Obviously in the hopes of binding it up enough to survive the trek up the hill .
In hind sight, that would probably have been the time to inspect the innards of the box.
But I was still stuck in his lack of confidence, so I overlooked that obvious option.
He gets it bound up, pushes it to the edge of truck, where I balance it while he jumps out.
He gives it one last try; “Are you sure about this?”
“Yup. We’ve got this. I’m tougher than I look” (who knew I’d have a career in cheerleading after all?)
We grab the box between us and head toward the stairs.
Guess who gets stuck going backwards, up the stairs?
Yup. Your’s truly. Balancing my half of the 130 pounds, while I am looking down and behind me to make sure I hit all 28 of the steps. Which, by the way, aren’t all just up in a straight line.
But we make it.
Piece of cake.
At least he had the decency to be a little impressed.
“You’re stronger than I thought”
Smile. “Well why else go to the gym but for moments like these…”
So we drop the box at the front door, and 10 minutes later, the assembly crew join it there. Smooth sailing from here on out…
They tell me it should take them about 30 min, and start unpacking the box.
2 minutes later they are knocking on the door.
I go out to have them holding up the base of the grill with one very large dent along the back edge.
“We can go ahead and put it together if you want, and you can call the company to send you a replacement part, then we can came back and swap it out at no charge. Up to you”
I just had my weeks workout in 10 min. Wine is calling my name.
“Sure. Just go ahead. I’ll call them.”
No sooner had I closed the door, than they were knocking again.
This time they had several bent and dented pieces to show me. Along with a completely broken off hinge on the lid.
“We can’t even put this together like this”
I mean. I only have myself to blame. What did I expect from a box like that?
So there sits my grill. In front of my front door. In it’s broken and taped up box.
Waiting for the Boys in Brown to return and make the trek back down the hill. With me balancing my half of the 130 pounds, I’m sure…